The quest to end aging and prolong human life indefinitely has stepped outside the worlds of religion and science fiction, and is now the stuff of serious science. The number of research biologists consciously and intently working toward this once-outrageous-sounding goal increases year after year. Exactly when we’ll get to the end goal remains quite unclear – but the steady march of progress in that direction has become unmistakeable.
A couple months after I (Ben Goertzel) interviewed my good friend and sometime research collaborator Hugo de Garis on some of his wilder theoretical ideas, he suggested it would be interesting to play a role-reversal game and ask ME some interview questions – about my AGI research and my views on the future of humanity and intelligence. His questions were good ones and so I happily obliged!
In the wake of a tragedy like the nuclear incidents we’re currently seeing in Japan, one of the questions that rises to the fore is: What can we do to prevent similar problems in the future?
Francis Heylighen started his career as yet another physicist with a craving to understand the foundations of the universe – the physical and philosophical laws that make everything tick. But his quest for understanding has led him far beyond the traditional limits of the discipline of physics. Currently he leads the Evolution, Complexity and COgnition group (ECCO) at the Free University of Brussels, a position involving fundamental cybernetics research cutting across almost every discipline. Among the many deep ideas he has pursued in the last few decades, one of the most tantalizing is that of the Global Brain – the notion that the social, computational and communicative matrix increasingly enveloping us as technology develops, may possess a kind of coherent intelligence in itself.
In the H+ Magazine context, R. U. Sirius is truly the Man Who Needs No Introduction. R. U. was the Editor of H+ Magazine from its inception until early this year, and remains a regular contributor — and has been well known to all transhumanists since well before the H+ magazine era, as the co-founder and original Editor-In-Chief of Mondo 2000, and an all around amazing writer, musician and cyberculture icon. Perhaps less well known is that Sirius was also chairman and candidate in the 2000 U.S. presidential election for The Revolution Party — and is now active in forming an Open Source Party. His book Counterculture Through the Ages is also a must-read, revealing an uncanny insight for the intersection of culture, psychology and technology, in the past and present as well as the future. And it was specifically with this book in mind that I got the idea of interviewing R.U. about the past, present and future of the transhumanist movement — a piece of history that he’s played a significant role in shaping.
Skeptics often cite limiting factors that could stop an intelligence explosion from happening…. We explain here why these bottlenecks are unlikely to be significant issues, and thus why, as I.J. Good predicted, an intelligence explosion is indeed a very likely outcome.
IEEE Spectrum ran an interesting article the other day, titled: “Next-Generation Supercomputers: Supercomputers are now running our search engines and social networks. But the heady days of stunning performance increases are over.”
What does it mean to be virtual? Pioneering anthropologist Tom Boellstorff’s recent appearance on the the weekly Metanomics event series suggests that our digital and “real” lives — our avatar selves and our physical ones — inform each other in highly complex ways that are not yet fully understood. I interview Tom to find out more about the patterns that make us both real and virtual.